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Königstein Capital invests N$100m in Mashare Blueberry project

September 02, 2022

Königstein Capital, which has so far invested over N$100 million in Mashare Blueberry production, is planning to increase its investment to over N$1 billion in the next 10 years.

The investment manager which was started by Albie Basson in 2009, has a mandate to invest in the general private equity as well as property and infrastructure sectors in Namibia.

 Königstein, through its investment vehicle Spitz Capital, where the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) is the primary investor, developed the first two phases totalling 60 hectares of Blueberries under production.

Another 140 hectares are being planned for the third development phase starting in 2023.

“Our 5-year target is to get to 200 hectares on the Mashare Estate. One needs to continually monitor and consider the macro condition. If the current macro conditions remain favourable, we can expand to over 500 hectares on our current projects, which will create over 500 permanent and 10,000 seasonal jobs,” said Spitz Capital Chief Investment Officer, Albert Basson.

He added that the group’s decision to venture into Blueberry production was motivated by the plant’s return on investment ratio.

“Relative to other agricultural crops, the investment per hectare of Blueberries is of the highest of all crops. We believe it to be one of the best agricultural economical utilisation of scarce resources such as water. When viewed as a factor of m3 of water utilised, it has a high revenue and jobs created potential.

“We prioritise investments that have a significant job creation impact and hard currency earnings potential. This puts intensive, export-oriented agriculture such as Blueberries in a class of its own. The barriers to entry for Blueberry production are also fairly high.”

Basson noted that the project, which is in the middle of its third harvest, currently exports the bulk of its harvest to international markets in Europe, far east and the middle east.

“The Namibian market is a very important market for us. We sell under the brand Namib Blue. It is important for us to be able to showcase our product in the local market. Having said that, more than 95% of our product is exported as the Namibian market is very small. This was always part of the strategy. It is an export focused investment. We export to many international countries. To date we have exported to most countries in Europe and Great Britain as well as to the middle and far east. Recent shipments were to Hong Kong and India,” the Spitz Capital CIO said.

He said the company is currently evaluating the planting of avocados, with a pilot crop already planted.

“We continually evaluate other crops that show long term macro potential. Mashare Berries has a trial plot of avocados which will be considered once longer-term data has been collected,” Basson said.

Asked if the investment manager will bid for the Green Schemes that the government is currently seeking proposals, Basson said the company wants to continue to use its skills, knowledge and experience to invest into and grow the Namibian economy.

“We believe that activating the current nonproductive Green Schemes is a low hanging fruit for Namibia. We will definitely make our services available to help unlock these assets and look to deploy more capital into these assets. We will also support our portfolio companies to operate other Green Schemes, and hopefully replicate what we have been able to do at the Mashare Green Scheme,” he said.

Mashare Berries operates on a government-owned Green Scheme on land rented on a long-term lease agreement.

 

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Last modified on Tuesday, 06 September 2022 22:39